Effortless Change

Kneeling beside my bed one day in 1968, I began to pray, “Lord, what do I have to do to get from where I am to where You want me to be?” I opened my eyes, and as I saw my Bible laying on the bed in front of me, I heard the Lord say, “Just put My Word in your heart, and it will do the rest.”

Although the Lord spoke that to me in prayer, it was important for me to see it in the Word. He revealed and confirmed it to me through a parable in Mark 4:26-29. It says,

And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; [27] And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. [28] For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. [29] But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

In this parable, Jesus compared the Word of God to a seed (Mark 4:14). Today, since so few of us are farmers, it might take a little explanation for us to fully grasp these truths.

First, He taught that God’s Word has to be planted like a seed in our hearts. Just as a seed doesn’t release its life until it is planted into the ground, God’s Word will not set us free until we get it in our hearts. Having the Bible on our tables, in our hands, or in our heads is not sufficient; we have to let God’s Word penetrate our hearts.

Second, the man who sowed the seed slept and rose day after day. It takes time for a seed to germinate. You can’t plant a seed one day and expect to see it growing the next day. Just because there’s nothing visible aboveground doesn’t mean the seed isn’t growing. If you dig it up every day to see if anything is happening, it will die.

A farmer has to leave his seed in the ground and believe that it’s growing even though he can’t see it. Likewise, you have to have faith that the seed of God’s Word will do what it was designed by God to do: produce its fruit in its time. Many people dig up the Word by speaking directly against what it says. They’ll let natural circumstances override what God says.

But when we meditate in God’s Word, we are undergoing effortless change! We may not see ourselves growing, but we are—just like that planted seed is growing under the ground even though the farmer can’t see it!

I know that effortless change sounds impossible to most people. The vast majority of people view change as one of the most traumatic experiences in life. But there is a way to change effortlessly. That is to take the seed of God’s Word and sow it in our hearts. Then the Word will produce all the change we need.

You’ve never seen an apple tree travail to produce an apple. It takes time, but it comes effortlessly. Likewise, it is the nature of all true born-again believers to be like Jesus. But it can’t happen without planting the seed of God’s Word in your heart.

Growth means change. Have you ever seen a plant that’s green and growing and not in a constant state of change? For the plant, it’s effortless; it just grows, and the change is evident to everyone. Your life should be just like that—green, growing, changing, and evident to the world. The plant never resolved to do anything. It just grows and produces fruit because of what it is. The Word of God is the same. When planted, it just produces—effortlessly.

If you’re like a lot of Christians, you have probably tried to change many times but find it hard and frustrating.That’s because you aren’t going about it God’s way. You substitute prayer, fasting, and your own effort for the seed of God’s Word. Don’t get me wrong: Prayer and fasting are like water and fertilizer to a seed. A seed needs those things. But it is the seed that has the miracle of life in it.

The only effort on your part is to put God’s Word in your heart and protect and nurture it. Then God’s Word will produce the change.

My whole life and ministry are the product of meditating on God’s Word. Any good thing in my life or ministry can be traced back to how God’s Word has changed me. I believe it’s the same for you. In the natural world, everything revolves around seed, time, and harvest. It’s the same in the spiritual world. God’s Word is the seed that, given time, produces a harvest.

I want to help make this new year the most fruitful time of change and harvest you’ve ever had. I’ve put together a combination of resources that will help you succeed in planting the seed of God’s Word in your life.

In the natural, we recognize that we can’t have a harvest without planting seeds. But in the spiritual realm, Christians try it all the time. Instead of going to the Word and meditating in the Scriptures themselves, they run to someone who has spent time in the Word and ask them for help. It’s an attempt to shortcut the process of seed, time, and harvest.

Then, if they don’t see results, they get confused and offended. God can meet needs through the faith of others, but it’s temporary and His secondary way of touching us. God’s best is to take the seed of His Word and plant it in our hearts where it will naturally and effortlessly produce the changes we desire.

When the Lord directed me to focus on His Word, everything changed. That is overly simple to some, but that word from God all those years ago has been my prime directive for forty-six years and has produced miraculous results. And the change this has produced has been nearly effortless. All I had to do was stay committed to God’s Word.